Monday, June 01, 2015

High, or Highly Flavoured?

I have a new old food word for you today. It is ‘hogoe.’ Are you familiar with the word? I found it in The New World of Words: or, Universal English dictionary compiled in 1706 by ‘Edward Phillips, Gent.’ in the following definition.

               To Mortify Flesh (in Cookery) to make it grow tender; to keep it
                until it has a Hogoe.

Let us not get into a discussion of the other meanings of ‘to mortify the flesh’ and focus on ‘hogoe,’ shall we?

A hogoe, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a ‘strong or piquant flavour; a pleasant taste,’ or can refer to a dish which has a high flavor. The word is a corruption via Anglicisation of the French haut-goût, which means ‘highly flavoured. In English of course, ‘high’ in relation to meat indicates the smell and taste of a degree of decomposition, and which may or may not be desirable in your game, depending on your personal tastes.
The references in the OED are most interesting and provide a mini-chronology of the use of the word, so I give them all:

The Dish:
1649   C. Walker Anarchia Anglicana ii. To Rdr. 3   It must be a mixture, a Hogo of all Relishes.
1656   Choyce Drollery 34   Witnesse all who Have ever been at thy Ho go.
1683   R. Dixon Canidia i. vii. 32   Cook all your Pasties, Pies and Tarts, March-pains, and the sweetning Arts; Hogo's, Fricacies, and Oleo's.
1708   H. Howard England's Newest Way Cookery (ed. 2) 39 (heading)    A Hogooe.
1730   N. Bailey et al. Dict. Britannicum,   Hogoe, (in Cookery), a Mess so called from its high savour or relish.
a1758   A. Ramsay Wks. (1944–73) II. 7   From Paris, deeply skill'd in nice Ragoos, In Oleos, Salmongundies and Hogoes.

The Flavour:
1653   I. Walton Compl. Angler vii. 159   To give the sawce a hogoe, let the dish (into which you let the Pike fall) be rubed with it [sc. garlick].
1657   R. Ligon True Hist. Barbados 79   A greater Hough goo is not in the world.
1660   M. Griffith Fear of God & King in Samaritan Revived 76   The Hogo of his delicious meats and drinks.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. 80/1   They..please the Pallet with a dellicate Ho-goo.
1702   P. A. Motteux in G. Farquhar Inconstant Prol. sig. a,   Your Rakes love hogoes like your damn'd French Cheese.

It seems from these references that the hogoe, as a name for a sauce or relish, did not last far into the eighteenth century. I wonder why such a lovely word disappeared. And what was it replaced with?

I love the Oxford English Dictionary, and I love it most when it provides a direct pointer to a recipe. From Henry Howard’s England's newest way in all sorts of cookery (2e, 1708) – I give you instructions on how to make a hogooe – and it is not at all what I expected!

A Hogooe.

Take a Leg of Mutton, take off the skin whole, with the upper Nuckle, then take the Flesh, with a pound of Beef-Suet, and shred them very fine; take some Spinage, a little Time and Savory, small Shalots, shred them small; put in some Salt and Pepper, then take six Yolks of Eggs, work the Meat and all together very well into a great B[all?] then take  Cabbage and open the Leaves and cut a hole to put in the Meat, and [….?] it long-was, like the Body of a Duck, and boil a Duck’s Head, and stick it on with a skewer; then bind the Body close, and tie it up hard; then boil it well and have in readiness some Sausages fried, and dipt in the Yolks of Eggs, with a little Flour and Nutmeg, a good deal of Butter, with some Anchovies dissolved in the Sauce first, and beat up with the Butter and Pickles. Serve it.

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